1. Antonio Gates fighting left knee injury

It turns out Gates was not given Wednesday off for veteran’s rest. He missed Thursday’s practice as well and now we now realize why. Gates got his left leg caught underneath him at the end of a 12-yard catch against the Packers last week. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune: “Gates clutched his left knee afterward. He stayed in the game but was clearly limited, barely able to chip an edge rusher in pass protection on the ensuing snap.”

So now we have major question marks surrounding the no-brainer chalk TE play of the week. Even if Gates can play, it sounds like he could be limited. That’s a concern with stud Ladarius Green in the mix and Stevie Johnson (hamstring) now healthy. It’s not like Philip Rivers has to have Gates to light up this miserable Raiders secondary. Pivots off Gates ($5000) include Travis Kelce ($4900), Greg Olsen ($6100) and Jordan Reed ($4200).

2. Jeremy Maclin makes way through concussion protocol

Per ESPN’s Ed Werder, Maclin is expected to practice Friday and gain clearance to play against the Steelers Sunday. It immediately sets him up as a nice tournament play. The Chiefs’ run game is going to struggle without Jamaal Charles, the Steelers have major holes in the secondary and Maclin ($6400) should see somewhere between 8-10 targets while playing at home. Any thoughts of Albert Wilson or Chris Conley sneaky plays are now out the window. And Travis Kelce’s outlook remains positive but doesn’t the boost it would have if Maclin played. We can’t expect anything more than the 6.5 targets per game Kelce has seen this season.

3. Eric Decker downgraded on injury report

Decker (knee) was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, which would be a big deal except for two things. First, he was a “full” participant on Wednesday and mid-week downgrades are never good. Second, Decker left the Week 2 game against the Colts early due to a knee issue and didn’t play against the Eagles the following week. So although I do think Decker will end up playing against the Patriots Sunday, these clues suggest his knee is a legit concern. If the Patriots come out and smash the Jets, we might not get the garbage time usage we were expecting from Decker.

4. Delanie Walker has attention of Falcons

I think Zach Mettenberger is going to perform far better Sunday than most believe. But I’m not sure it’s going to be Delanie Walker that’s stuffing the stat sheet. The Falcons are well aware that Walker has 26 targets in his last three games and Ben Watson lit them up last week. “We feel that they will utilize (Walker) and try to attack us in that area because of last week as the tight end had so many catches in the New Orleans game,” DC Richard Smith said. “We’ll be prepared for that.” Walker’s state lines with Mettenberger in 2014, via Evan Silva: 4-37-1, 3-37-0, 5-155-0, 1-6-0 and 4-27-0.